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TweetTweet: Customer Engagement Is Calling

Using social networks like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for brand promotion is not a new idea. But with traffic to social media sites now more than 307 million unique and Americans spending more time than ever on social sites (over 5.5 hours per month, according to Nielsen), engaging consumers through social networks is no longer an option -- it's essential. Twitter has attracted particular interest as a marketing tool, especially with its latest Promoted Tweets, and saw a 579& increase in users from December 2008 to 2009.

Google real-time search and now Twitter Promoted Tweets have also changed the marketing landscape and increased the ability to influence audiences across social channels. With Promoted Tweets, specific tweets from participating companies show up in relevant Twitter search results. For example, if someone searches "Starbucks" on Twitter, Starbucks' latest Promoted Tweet will show up at the top of the results page.



Furthermore, Twitter will be monitoring Promoted Tweets for resonance and will stop promoting those that don't strike a chord with users. With the micro-blogging site processing about 600 million search requests each day, odds are good that Promoted Tweets will help brands enter consumer consciousness and win followers -- as long as they put out the right message at the right time.

Choosing which Tweets are promoted can help companies target users with the most resonant messages at the best times. This added control over the highest-ranking tweets in search can also help brands manage their online reputations, as Promoted Tweets can be formulated to address the brand's most pressing issues of the moment. This will put positive and useful information at the top of a user's search. Brands using this tool can benefit by monitoring their online brand reputations to see what customers are saying and decide the best message to put out.

Twitter's partnership with search engines also makes it easier for brands to monitor their social reputations in real-time; by simply searching on Google, users can see relevant tweets as real-time search results. This means that when consumers search for information on Starbucks, they will see up-to-the-second Starbucks-related tweets -- from both happy and unhappy customers. Consumers are talking about your company, and this is where tools to monitor online brand repu-tation can be beneficial.

The range of sophisticated online brand reputation solutions can help you determine the most influential online, what messages resonate and better understand when and how to join the conversation.

Before really diving into online brand management, marketers should first agree on the company's social engagement objectives. Do you want to change perceptions? Drive traffic back to the company blog? Build relationships with influencers? There's no right answer -- each company must figure out what is most beneficial to its business plan. Spread these goals across the organization, and make sure you have every employee sold on the idea. Social engagement is an enterprise-wide undertaking that requires buy-in from employees and clear role-assignment.

Once you know your goals and who is in charge of your messaging, decide what types of content your spokespeople will respond to. Generally, it's best to respond to questions about the brand, posts containing misinformation, "fence-sitters" and strong positive and negative opinions (as long as they're not by Internet trolls). As always, the sooner you can respond to any relevant cus-tomer query, the better.

The best kind of social engagement is relevant to consumers and resonates with them. It's not a mouthpiece. Whether you're using Promoted Tweets, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, use it to share your thoughts, highlight news and events in your market and have a conversation. Also, monitor social sites for customer service issues and answer them promptly. This fractured, fast-paced media world may seem daunting at first, but your returns in the form of customer engage-ment will be worth every second and every penny you invest. Blake Cahill is CMO of Visible Technologies

1 comment about "TweetTweet: Customer Engagement Is Calling ".
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  1. Jim Thomas from Frank N. Magid Associates, May 19, 2010 at 10:29 a.m.

    Really good advice and guidance from Blake. It's often difficult for brands to stop shouting their traditional message and engage. Those efforts need to fit into the overall strategy. As a marketing person in traditional media, listening to our followers/audience first does not come naturally. This piece is a good primer.

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